Thailand Detains Hong Kong Pro-Democracy Activist

Bangkok believed to have acted on request from Beijing
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Oct 5, 2016 12:44 AM CDT
Thailand Detains Hong Kong Pro-Democracy Activist
In this Aug. 15, 2016 photo, Hong Kong student pro-democracy activist Joshua Wong shouts slogans outside a magistrate's court in Hong Kong.   (Vincent Yu)

Thai authorities, reportedly acting on a request from Beijing, detained a Hong Kong teen pro-democracy activist on his arrival at Bangkok's airport late Tuesday in the latest sign of what rights groups say is China pressuring neighbors as it tries to quash dissent, the AP reports. Joshua Wong, who turns 20 next week, helped spearhead huge street protests in the former British colony two years ago. He could not be contacted by members of his political party, Demosisto, after he arrived at Bangkok's main airport on his way to give a talk at a university, the group says.

The group says a Thai student activist who was expected to meet Wong was informed that he had been detained at Suvarnabhumi Airport after Thai authorities received a request from the Chinese government about his visit. Human rights activists called for Wong's release. "Thailand's arrest of Joshua Wong, a well-known pro-democracy activist in Hong Kong, sadly suggests that Bangkok is willing to do Beijing's bidding. Wong should be freed immediately and allowed to travel and exercise his right to free expression," said Sophie Richardson, China director at Human Rights Watch. (More Hong Kong stories.)

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